How do you interpret this behavior?

February 16, 2010 at 9:13 am 7 comments

This video was taken just over 1 year ago, at Lake Hollywood dog park.  This was before Boogie started growling, lunging and snapping at other dogs (on our walks), when it was still relatively safe to take him to an off-leash dog park.

See in the video how he greets the other dogs, stiffens, and then jumps away from them? The other dogs are kinda relaxed, but Boogie is all skittish and jerky all over the place.

I am interested to know what this means. I interpreted this behavior as “dominant” posturing at the time but I really don’t know what it’s all about.

This week, Boogie met a few new dogs and didn’t react too badly.  These were cute puppies his size or smaller – (He still freezes and barks when he sees big dogs) and I could sense that he wasn’t so threatened by them that it was safe to let him go sniff.

Boogie seemed to be a lot better – no aggressive snapping, thank goodness. But I noticed that he still does that weird thing of sniffing the other dog, then jumping back really fast – like in the video – sort of like he wants to play, but not quite, because his body is mostly upright – not a full playbow.

What do you make of this?

UPDATE: Sarah, our new behaviorist/trainer comments on this video

Entry filed under: Outdoors, Social stuff.

Boogie- Day by Day “Behavior Adjustment Training” DVD

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. dearprudie  |  February 17, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    Hmm.. I’ve noticed Pru do that sometimes too so I would be curious as well to see if anyone has any ideas of what it means.

  • 2. lili  |  February 18, 2010 at 8:45 am

    I think he’s playing but it’s sort of weird because when he does this, he jumps back ONCE or TWICE and then runs off elsewhere like he suddenly loses interest …Or he wasn’t serious about playing in the first place… I don’t know.

    • 3. dearprudie  |  February 19, 2010 at 10:25 pm

      Yeah, it never comes off as aggressive to me, just playful. Or, I guess a hesitant playful.

  • 4. Dogs Behavior  |  February 18, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    Dogs Behavior…

    Keep up the good work, looking forward to your next post…

  • 5. Words and Steel  |  February 20, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Interesting- this is what Orby does too.

    Can I ask about when you used to take Boogie to dog parks? Was he totally dog-friendly when you brought him, and only became fear-aggressive later? Did he ever get into fights, or was he just a little awkward? I’m just wondering because I really would like to try to take him to a small dog park in off hours but just want to hear from other people about their experiences, too.


    • 6. lili  |  February 20, 2010 at 5:22 pm

      We used to take Boogie to dog parks every week. There was never a problem – he was totally dog-friendly.

      We stopped taking him to dog parks when he started lunging at random dogs on the street and we weren’t sure if we could trust him. (Even though he seems to be better with other dogs off-leash than on-leash)

      There is a blog post on Boogie’s “Dog Aggression” here.

      The very last time we took him to a dog park – which is that day in Lake Hollywood when this video was taken, there were a bunch of dogs playing. Boogie honed in on ONE dog and picked a fight with him. It was very embarrassing… we quickly went home after that and have never taken him back since.

      Unfortunately I don’t have a fenced yard or I’d love to have play dates for Boogie with dogs that he knows that he is friendly with.

  • […] – There are two types of Playbow. There is the playbow when the dog wants to play and he will jump from side to side in this position. Then there is the playbow when a dog jumps backwards and wanders off like he is not really interested in playing. In this case, he is doing the Playbow as a calming signal to the other dogs to let them know that he is friendly. Boogie does this all the time!!! Check out my earlier blog post and video. […]


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